Northwestern University (NU or, less commonly, NWU) is a private research university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago in Illinois, United States. Northwestern has 12 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees.
Northwestern was founded in 1851 by John Evans, for whom Evanston is named, and eight other lawyers, businessmen and Methodist leaders to serve the people of a region that had once been known as the Northwest Territory. Instruction began in 1855; women were admitted in 1869. Today, the main campus is a 240-acre (97 ha) parcel in Evanston, along the shores of Lake Michigan. The university's law and medical schools are located on a 25-acre (10 ha) campus in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. In 2008, the University opened a campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar with programs in journalism and communication. In academic year 2010-2011, Northwestern enrolled 8,397 undergraduate and 7,870 graduate and professional students.
Northwestern has one of the largest university endowments in the United States, valued at $7.1 billion in 2012. One of only 62 institutions elected to the Association of American Universities (1917), Northwestern was awarded more than $500 million in research grants in 2010–2011, placing it in the first tier of the major research universities in the United States by the Center for Measuring University Performance. Its schools of journalism, management, engineering, and communication, for example, are among the most academically productive in the nation. Northwestern is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and remains the only private university in the conference. The Northwestern Wildcats compete in 19 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA's Division I.